You have the learning, but do you have the burning?
President Coolidge once invited some friends from Vermont to dine at the White House. They were ignorant of proper etiquette, so they decided to do everything their host did. All went well until coffee was served. Coolidge poured his into a saucer. The guests did the same. The President added sugar and cream. So did the visitors. Then Coolidge leaned over and placed his saucer on the floor for the cat ... We are prone to peer pressure and conforming to the pattern of those around us. Doing what we see others doing is good if the others are doing the right thing. But as we saw from those having dinner at The White House, it can also be a bad, even embarrassing thing. The difference seems to reside with the word – why. Why are we doing what we are doing? Why are we following the examples we are following? If it is to fit in and disguise our ignorance, we can turn good things into destructive things. Education is a good thing. But why is education important? Is it because we want to look good, earn respect, or gain status? If so, even education can become an obstacle. When education becomes the sole goal of faith we will miss the point of faith. Education is an important part of faith but the goal must be living as the redeemed, those whose passion for Christ becomes contagious and compelling for others as we point them to Christ. God’s question for us always seems to be something like this – “you have the learning but do you have the burning?” For some, gaining information about Jesus has replaced trusting Jesus as a primary way of relating to Jesus. When this happens there can be an abundance of learning and a scarcity of burning. In Acts 4:13 we read, “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Peter and John had the burning, Do you? This is how we raise the bar on our discipleship.